This morning, over
coffee, one of my good friends spilled her guts to me about all of her failed
attempts to find the perfect man. Although her story is about her unique
personal experiences, I couldn’t help but feel like I had heard the same story
told by others in completely different circumstances a hundred times before.
It’s a heartbreaking
tale about the endless quest for perfection that so many of us are on…
The Perfect Woman
Once upon a time, an
intelligent, attractive, self-sufficient woman in her mid-thirties decided she
wanted to settle down and find a husband. So she journeyed out into the
world to search for the perfect man.
She met him in New
York City at a bar in a fancy hotel lobby. He was handsome and
well-spoken. In fact, she had a hard time keeping her eyes off of
him. He intrigued her. It was the curves of his cheek bones,
the confidence in his voice, and the comfort of his warm, steady hands.
But after only a short time, she broke things off. “We just didn’t share
the same religious views,” she said. So she continued on her journey.
She met him again in
Austin a few months later. This time, he was an entrepreneur who owned a
small, successful record label that assisted local musicians with booking gigs
and promoting their music. And she learned, during an unforgettable
night, that not only did they share the same religious views, but he could also
make her laugh for hours on end. “But I just wasn’t that physically
attracted to him,” she said. So she continued on her journey.
She met him again in
Miami at a beachside café. He was a sports medicine doctor for the Miami
Dolphins, but he easily could have been an underwear model for Calvin
Klein. For a little while, she was certain he was the one! And all
of her friends loved him too. “He’s the perfect catch,” they told
her. “But we didn’t hang in the same social circles, and his high-profile
job consumed way too much of his time and attention,” she said. So she
cut things off and continued on her journey.
Finally, at a
corporate business conference in San Diego, she met the perfect man. He
possessed every quality she had been searching for. Intelligent,
handsome, spiritual, similar social circles, and a strong emotional and
physical connection—absolutely perfect! She was ready to spend the rest
of her life with him. “But unfortunately, he was looking for the
‘perfect’ woman,” she said.
Everything We’ve Ever Hoped For
As human beings, we
often chase hypothetical, static states of perfection. We do so when we
are searching for the perfect house, job, friend, or lover.
The problem, of
course, is that perfection doesn’t exist in a static state. Because life
is a continual journey, constantly evolving and changing. What is here
today is not exactly the same tomorrow.
That perfect house,
job, friend, or lover will eventually fade to a state of imperfection.
Thus, the closest we can get to perfection is the experience itself—the snapshot of a single moment or vision held forever in
our minds—never evolving, never growing. And that’s not really
what we want. We want something real! And when it’s real, it won’t
ever be perfect. But if we’re willing to work at it and open up, it could
be everything we’ve ever hoped for.
That Imperfect Man (or Woman)
The truth is, when it
comes to finding the “perfect man” or “perfect woman” or “perfect relationship,”
the journey starts with letting the fantasy of “perfect” GO! In the real
world, you don’t love and appreciate someone because they’re perfect, you love
and appreciate them in spite of the fact that they are not. Likewise,
your goal shouldn’t be to create a perfect life, but to live an imperfect life
in radical amazement.
And when an intimate
relationship gets difficult, it’s not an immediate sign that you’re doing it
wrong. Intimate relationships are intricate, and are often toughest when
you’re doing them right—when you’re dedicating time, having the hard
conversations, compromising, and making daily sacrifices. Resisting the
tough moments—the real moments—and seeing them as immediate evidence that
something is wrong, or that you’re with the wrong person, only exacerbates the
difficulties. By contrast, viewing difficulties in a relationship as
normal and necessary will give you and your partner the best chance to thrive
together in the long run.
Again, there is no
“perfect.” To say that one waits a lifetime for their perfect soulmate to
come around is an absolute paradox. People eventually get tired of
waiting, so they take a chance on someone, and by the powers of love,
compromise and commitment they become soulmates, which takes nearly a lifetime
This concept truly
relates to almost everything in life too. With a little patience and an
open mind, over time, I bet that imperfect house evolves into a comfortable
home. That imperfect job evolves into a rewarding career. That
imperfect friend evolves into a steady shoulder to lean on. And… that
imperfect man or woman evolves into a “perfect” lifelong companion.
Now, it’s your turn…
Please leave a comment
and let me know what you think of this short essay.
Any other thoughts on perfectionism’s harmful role in relationships?
1 INSANELY POPULAR WAY TO WRECK THE NEXT YEAR OF YOUR LIFE
yourself: It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our
And yet so often, against our better judgment, we make the wrong choices.
Our pride has us holding on when we need to let go.
Pressure from peers sways us left when we mean to go right.
Negative thoughts provoke frowning on otherwise beautiful days.
And so it goes…
One choice at a time, one moment at a time, we ruin the most promising days of
If you can relate at all, it’s time to answer your wake-up call!
How many times have you thought “this isn’t working” or “something is not
right” or “things have to change”? – those thoughts and words are from your
inner voice. It’s your wake-up call calling.
You really don’t need some scary, life-threatening diagnosis or major crisis to
wake you up. And no one needs to tell you because you already know. Your inner
voice has been trying to tell you for a while now, but in case it’s been a
challenge to find time and space to listen through the chaos, maybe you’ll
resonate with one of these situations:
If your life is on auto-pilot and you’re
always feeling worn down and stressed out, this is your wake-up call.
If you never put yourself first, this is your
If you are constantly numbing out with food,
shopping, booze, TV, or other distractions, this is your wake-up call.
your wake-up call is not the hard part. Answering the call is. Choosing to
answer the call instead of ignoring it is HARD! Right now, it may feel much
easier to keep going, and going, and going. But you know if you don’t find a
way out of the endless cycle you’re in, it’s going to get worse…
Remind yourself that a big part of your life is a result of the choices you
make. And if you don’t like your life it’s time to start making changes and
Based on over a decade of one-on-one coaching sessions with hundreds of
students from around the world, and hearing dozens of personal stories every
year from attendees at our live annual events, here is the #1 way we as human
beings gradually wreck our own lives, and some clear ideas on how to make
better choices going forward:
Decide YOU ARE STUCK!
that’s the most popular way we as human beings hurt ourselves! Take a moment to
reflect on evidence of this in your own life…
Think about ONE self-limiting belief you
have—one area of your life where you believe you absolutely CANNOT make
progress. It can be about any
part of your life you hope to change—your health, your weight, your career,
your relationships – anything at all. What’s one thing you’ve essentially
decided is a fact about your place on Earth?
And then I want you to shift gears and think
about ONE time, one fleeting moment, in which the opposite of that ‘fact’ was
true for you. I don’t care how tiny of a victory it was, or even if it was a
partial victory. What’s one moment in time you can look back on and say, “Hey,
that was totally unlike ‘me’—but I did it!”? Because once you identify the
cracks in the wall of a self-limiting belief, you can start attacking it. You
can start taking steps forward every day that go against it—positive daily
rituals that create tiny victories, more confidence, gradual momentum, bigger
victories, even more confidence, and so on.
yes, I also understand that we all face our share of incredibly difficult
circumstances, many of which are not the results of anything we’ve done. But we
still have choices when it comes to how we’ll respond to these seemingly-random
tragedies that afflict us.
The choice is as simple as it is universal:
Grit our teeth and try to move the immovable
object, and become frustrated and bitter when we realize we can’t.
Answer our wake-up call. Let it be. Let go.
the first choice is easier because it’s our default action. We want full
control because feeling out of control is utterly terrifying.
It’s essential to know how to let go—how to understand the difference between
what you can control and what you can’t.
Empowering yourself to relinquish control of the wrong attachments is one of
the greatest gifts you can give yourself—the ability to exist peacefully and
productively amidst the chaos of life.
If you feel yourself slowly collapsing under the weight of life and circumstances,
we have a proven path to a more peaceful and productive life. We’d love to
share it with you.
French philosopher François-Marie Arouet once said:
And of course, if you’re struggling with any of this, know that you are
not alone. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to think
more clearly, respond to life more effectively, and get ourselves back on
HOW TO RECONNECT WITH YOUR PARTNER AFTER HAVING KIDS
First things first: This is not another article that simply tells you to “go on a date night.”
Nothing against date nights. The best ones can remind you why you fell in love with your spouse or partner in the first place.
Or they can involve staring at each other in a sleep-deprived haze over an expensive meal while intermittently glancing at your phone for updates from the babysitter.
If date nights aren’t working for you, or if you’ve been struggling to maintain intimacy for months — or even years — after having children, here are some different ways to stay close to your spouse or partner, despite the stresses and frustrations of parenthood.
Try not to become complacent.
Just as there was never a perfect time to have children, there will rarely be a perfect time to rekindle a connection with your partner.
It’s easy to push your romantic relationship to the side: “Let’s get through sleep training first.” Or: “As soon as I get back into shape.” Or: “Maybe when I’m less tired.”
Then winter arrives. “Everyone’s sick again? Let’s wait until we get better.”
But if you keep waiting, experts say, regaining intimacy can become increasingly difficult.
“It seems to have been the norm for so many couples to say to themselves, ‘Now that the kids are here, we’ll focus on the kids. Our day will come,’” said Michele Weiner-Davis, a marriage and family therapist whose TEDx talk about sex-starved marriages has been viewed more than 5 million times. “But here’s the bad news from someone who’s been on the front lines with couples for decades. Unless you treat your relationship, your marriage, like it’s a living thing — which requires nurturing on a regular basis — you won’t have a marriage after the kids leave home.”
Couples may start to lead parallel but separate lives — and discover they have nothing in common.
“They’re looking at a stranger, and they ask themselves, ‘Is this the way I want to spend the last few years of my life?’” Ms. Weiner-Davis said. “And for too many couples the answer is no.”
But all of that is preventable, she added.
“It’s absolutely essential not to be complacent about what I call a ho-hum sex life. Touching is a very primal way of connecting and bonding,” Ms. Weiner-Davis said. “If those needs to connect physically are ignored over a period of time, or are downgraded so that it’s not satisfying, I can assure people there will be problems in the relationship moving forward.”
Slow down and start over.
If you had a vaginal birth, you and your partner may expect to begin having sex as early as six weeks after the baby is born, if you have been physically cleared to do so.
For some couples, that signals “the clock is now ticking,” said Emily Nagoski, author of “Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life.”
But a lot of women simply won’t be ready that early. And that’s O.K.
“After the postpartum checkup, I didn’t feel like myself, I didn’t feel physically ready to have sex,” said Emily Stroia, 33, who lives in Los Angeles. “In terms of libido, I didn’t really have one.”
Ms. Stroia, the mother of a 10-month-old, eventually starting having sex with her partner once a month — but before she became pregnant, they had sex nearly every week, she said.
“I still kind of forget that I’m in a relationship,” said Ms. Stroia, who is struggling with sleep deprivation. “I have to remind myself that I have a partner.”
After any potential medical problems are ruled out, Dr. Nagoski advises couples to “start over” with one another by establishing a sexual connection in much in the same way they might have done when they were first getting to know each other: making out, holding each other and gradually moving in the direction of bare skin.
That’s especially important if there’s a birth parent involved, she added.
“That person’s body is brand-new,” Dr. Nagoski said. “The whole meaning of their body has transformed.”
It also helps to remember that “intimacy isn’t just hot sex,” said Rick Miller, a psychotherapist in Massachusetts.
“It’s steadfast loyalty, a commitment to getting through stressful times together and, most importantly, enjoying the warm, cozy moments of home together,” Mr. Miller said.
Put on your life preserver first.
Taking the time to nurture your individual physical and emotional needs will give you the bandwidth to nurture your relationship, too, so that it doesn’t feel like another task on the to-do list.
“When you experience your partner’s desire for intimacy as an intrusion, ask yourself, ‘How deprived am I in my own self-care? What do I need to do to take care of myself in order to feel connected to my own sexuality?’” said Dr. Alexandra Sacks, a reproductive psychiatrist and host of the “Motherhood Sessions” podcast.
That might mean going to the gym or talking to your partner about decreasing the invisible mental load that is often carried by one parent.
Enlisting the support of your family (or your chosen family) to take some time for yourself or discuss some of the struggles that accompany parenting can help you recharge.
“Relying on others is an indirect way of working on intimacy,” Mr. Miller said.
This is especially important for gay couples, he added, who may not typically share vulnerabilities “because the world hasn’t been a safe place.”
Practicing self-care as a couple is equally important.
Dr. Sacks recommends making a list of everything you used to do together as a couple that helped you feel close, and thinking about how those rituals have changed.
Is your toddler sleeping in your bed, spread out like a sea star between you and your partner? Have you stopped doing the things together you used to really enjoy like working out or going to the movies? Dr. Sacks recommends thinking about how you’re going to make an adjustment in order to create physical and emotional intimacy with your partner.
For example, if you always used to talk about your day together and now that time is completely absorbed by caregiving, the absence of that connection will be profound.
“You can’t just eliminate it and expect to feel as close,” she said.
Think about what turns you on.
According to Dr. Nagoski, one way to nurture intimacy is to remind yourselves of the context in which you had a great sexual connection together.
What characteristics did your partner have? What characteristics did your relationship have?
Then, she said, think about the setting.
“Were we at home with the door locked? Were we on vacation? Was it over text? Was it at a party in a closet at a stranger’s house against a wall of other people’s coats? What context really works for us?” Dr. Nagoski said.
When doing this exercise, and when thinking about your current libido (or lack thereof) it’s also helpful to remember that not everyone experiences spontaneous desire — the kind of sexual desire that pops out of nowhere. For example, you’re walking down the street and suddenly can’t stop thinking about sex.
Millions of other people experience something different called responsive desire, which stems from erotic stimulation. In other words, arousal comes first and then desire.
Both types of desire are normal.
Create a magic circle in your bedroom.
Dr. Nagoski suggested cordoning off an imaginative protected space in your mind where you can “bring forward the aspects of your identity that are relevant to your erotic connection and you close the door on the parts of yourself that are not important for an erotic connection.”
With enough focus, this strategy can work even if the physical space you’re using contains reminders of your role as a caregiver.
It can also help to think of your bedroom as a sanctuary, advised Ms. Weiner-Davis.
For couples who have spent years co-sleeping with their children, that can be somewhat difficult.
“I do believe there comes a point where it’s important to have those boundaries again,” Ms. Weiner-Davis said.
Don’t bank on spontaneity.
It’s easy to forget how much time and effort we put into our relationships in the early days: planning for dates, caring for our bodies and (gasp) having long conversations with one another.
“People feel sort of sad when they get that news that yes, it does require effort to build a connection across a lifetime,” Dr. Nagoski said. “You don’t just dive in — you don’t just put your body in the bed and put your genitals against each other and expect for it to be ecstatic.”
Karen Jeffries (a pen name she uses as a writer and performer to protect her privacy) said her sex life with her husband is better than ever after having had two children. They’ve always had a strong physical connection, she said. But they also plan ahead and prioritize.
“There are times where I’ll text him and I’ll be like, ‘We’re having sex tonight,’ and he’ll be like ‘O.K.’ or vice versa,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll send him a picture of a taco and he’ll send me a picture of an eggplant.”
Ms. Jeffries, 37, a fourth-grade dual-language teacher in Westchester County, N.Y., is the author of “Hilariously Infertile,” an account of the fertility treatments she endured to conceive her two daughters. Her children, now aged 6 and 4, are on a strict sleep schedule with a 7:30 p.m. bedtime, allowing for couple time in the evening.
Think of building good sexual habits just like you would develop good eating or exercising habits, she advised.
“Sex begets more sex. Kind of like when you go to the gym,” she said. “It takes you a while to build that habit.”
Then, she added, “You’ll notice little by little that it becomes more and more as opposed to less and less.”
A small 2018 study found that attending group therapy helped couples with low sexual desire as well as those who had discrepancies in their levels of sexual desire.
Individual or couples therapy can also be a good place to start.
For many parents, however, and especially those with young children, finding the time and money to go to a therapist can be challenging.
Esther Perel, a psychotherapist whose TED talks on sexuality and relationships have been viewed by millions, offers an online course, currently $199, that includes a section called “Sex After Kids.”
Ms. Perel also hosts the popular “Where Should We Begin?” podcast, in which couples share the intimate details of their troubles during recorded therapy sessions.
Regardless of what steps you take to rebuild a connection with your spouse, experts say it’s important to take action as soon as possible.
“The child is not going to take up less space over time,” Dr. Sacks said. “So the question is: How do you carve out space for your relationships around the child, as the child continues to develop with different but continually demanding needs.”
temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he
will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,
he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”1
Nelson Searcy tells of a study that was conducted about the best tasting ice
cream. Members of the control group were blindfolded and given all kinds of
vanilla ice cream to taste—quality brand ice cream, gourmet ice cream, homemade
ice cream, cheap ice cream and everything in between.
It didn’t matter if it was gourmet, brand name, or homemade ice cream,
“The number one determining factor was the percentage of fat in the ice
cream. In other words, the more fat that was in the ice cream, the more
people liked it.”
As Searcy stated, “Now, isn’t that one of the ironies of life? Why can’t
fried chicken, which happens to be my favorite food, be as good for you as an
apple? I have never heard a doctor say—’A fried chicken leg a day will
keep the doctor away.’ The reason they say that is because if you had
fried chicken every morning for breakfast, it would probably keep the doctor
nearby because your cholesterol would shoot up. I guess I’ll have to
settle for apples.”2
And who doesn’t like a good fatty ice cream? As a kid we even used to pour pure
cream over our ice cream. Yum! Yum! We had no idea how unhealthy that was.
Temptation, too, can have an overpowering attraction and appeal. It can look
fabulous and at first taste very inviting—but in the long run its effects are
deadly. It reminds me of an extremely beautiful fish that is found on the Great
Barrier Reef in Australia. It’s only very small but its sting is incredibly
painful. It needs to be avoided at all cost. Same with sin. Regardless how
attractive it appears, its end result is deadly so it needs to be avoided at
all costs. As Searcy said, “When we give in to temptation, we always
regret it because in the long run we always give up something greater for
instant gratification right now.”3
Suggested Prayer: “Dear God, please help me to remember that while sin’s
temptation can be very appealing, it always pays self-destructive dividends.
Through Your Spirit please give me the strength to resist the lures of the evil
one—and the good sense to always depend on You and not try to fight it in my
own strength. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in
Jesus’s name, amen.”
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her
husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs
She was the Vice President of Household Affairs for her entire
adult life. She had a husband, four daughters, and one son whom she managed.
Her calling was not to the workplace; it was to the home. It was a calling that
she fulfilled well. She often went beyond her job description to fulfill menial
tasks like sewing clothes for her twin girls, playing dolls, and even playing
catch with the only boy in the clan.
Things were going along well until midway in life a telephone call
came that changed everything. The caller informed her that the love of her life
had been killed in an airplane crash. She was in her early 40’s, still
beautiful, with five kids to raise on her own in spite of the fact that she
hadn’t worked in the business place for nearly 20 years.
The death of her husband removed their steady upper middle-class
income, and she was now faced with the greatest test of her life. At her lowest
moment, wondering how she was going to make it, she cried out to God. God
answered, “Trust Me, Lillian.” Those audible words became the
strength that she needed to care for her family for the next 40 years.
From that moment on, she came to know her Savior personally and
shared Him with her family. Her children came to know Him as well.
Grandchildren became the recipients of her prayers, and they came to know Him
too. She was building an inheritance in Heaven, one prayer at a time, one soul
at a time. She never remarried; Christ became her Husband.
Whatever wisdom and encouragement has come to you through these
devotionals, it is only as a result of one who answered the call to the
greatest and most important workplace there is: the home.
You can thank my mom, Lillian Hillman, for whatever grace you have
gained from these messages throughout the year, because she remained faithful
to the call to invest in those she was called to love and serve. “Her
children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises
Don’t just rant online for a better world. Love your family. Be a good neighbor. Practice kindness. Build bridges. Embody what you preach. Today. And always.
About a decade ago, at one o’clock in the morning, my grandpa who was suffering from Alzheimer’s got up, got into my car and drove off. Angel and I contacted the police, but before they could find him, two college kids pulled into our driveway with my grandpa. One was driving him in my car and the other was following in their car. They said they overheard him crying about being lost at an empty gas station 10 miles away. My grandpa couldn’t remember our address, but gave the kids his first and last name. They looked him up online, found our address, and drove him home.
I was randomly
reflecting on that incident today while sitting near the edge of a beautiful
ocean-side cliff in San Diego. As I stared off into the distance, the sudden
awareness of footsteps behind me startled me. I turned around to see a young
lady who was almost in tears slowly walking to where I was sitting. I jumped
up, walked up to her and asked, “What’s wrong?” She told me she was
deathly afraid of heights, but was worried about my safety and wanted to
get over her fear because she needed to make sure I was okay.
“You were sitting so
close to the edge, and with a such despondent expression,” she said. “My heart
told me I needed to check on you—to make sure you were in a healthy state of
mind.” Her name is Kate, and her braveness and kindness truly warmed my heart.
I’ve spent the rest of
the day thinking about what an extraordinary person Kate is, and about those
amazing college kids who helped my grandpa, and about what it means to be a
kind and giving person. As Kate and those kids found out, being kind isn’t always
easy. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile, or face your biggest fears, or
stand up against your own negative tendencies to make a positive difference in
someone else’s life. Let this be your wake-up call today. It’s time to start
doing the hard things—the right things—for others…
1. Start being a source
of sincere support.
The closest thing to
being cared for is to care for others. We are all in this together and we
should treat each other as such. The very demons that torment each of us,
torment others all over the world. It is our challenges and troubles that
connect us at the deepest level.
If you think about the
people who have had the greatest positive effect on your life—the ones who
truly made a difference—you will likely realize that they aren’t the ones that
tried to give you all the answers or solve all your problems. They’re the ones
who sat silently with you when you needed a moment to think, who lent you a
shoulder when you needed to cry, and who tolerated not having all the answers,
but stood beside you anyway. Be this person for those around you every chance
2. Start giving people
your undivided attention.
There is greatness and
beauty in making time, especially when it’s inconvenient, for the sake of
You don’t have to tell
people that you care, just show them. In your relationships and interactions
with others, nothing you can give is more appreciated than your sincere,
focused attention. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without
anticipation of results is the ultimate compliment. It is indeed the most
valued gesture you can make to another human being.
When we pay attention
to each other we breathe new life into each other. With frequent attention and
affection our relationships flourish, and we as individuals grow wiser and
stronger. We help heal each other’s wounds and support each other’s growth. So
give someone the gift of YOU—your time, undivided attention and kindness.
That’s better than any other gift, it won’t break or get lost, and will always
3. Start respecting and
supporting people who are different than you.
privilege is to become who you truly are. You have to dare to be yourself, one
hundred percent, however anxious or odd that self may prove to be. The people
who support you in doing so are extraordinary. Appreciate these people and
their kindness, and pay it forward when you’re able.
Never bully someone
into silence. Never victimize others for being different. Accept no one’s
close-minded definition of another person. Let people define themselves. You
have the ability to show
people how awesome they are, just the way they are. So act on this
ability without hesitation; and don’t forget to show yourself the same
4. Start being willing
to be wrong.
The mind is like a
parachute; it doesn’t work when it’s closed.
It’s okay to disagree
with the thoughts or opinions expressed by others. But that doesn’t give you
the right to immediately reject any sense they might make. Nor does it give you
a right to accuse someone of poorly expressing their beliefs just because you
don’t like what they are thinking and saying. Learn to recognize the beauty of
different ideas and perspectives, even if it means overcoming your pride and
opening your mind beyond what is comfortable.
and human interactions are not a power struggle. Be willing to be wrong, while
simultaneously exploring your truth.
5. Start giving
recognition and praise for the little things.
A brave, extraordinary
soul recognizes the strength of others. Give genuine praise whenever possible.
Doing so is a mighty act of service. Start noticing what you like about others
and speak up. Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are
is extremely rewarding. It’s an investment in them that doesn’t cost you a
thing, and the returns can be astounding. Not only will they feel empowered,
but also what
goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re
cheering for will start cheering for you too.
Also, be sure to
follow this rule: “Praise in public, penalize in private.” Never publicly
ridicule someone when you have the option not to. If you don’t understand
someone, ask questions. If you don’t agree with them, tell them. But don’t
judge them behind their back to everyone else.
6. Start giving people
the space to save face.
What others say and do
is often based entirely on their own self-reflection. When someone who is angry
and upset speaks to you, and you nevertheless remain very present and continue
to treat them with kindness and respect, you place yourself in a position of
great power. You become a means for the situation to be graciously diffused and
A spiritual teacher
once told me, “When somebody backs themselves into a corner, look the other way
until they get themselves out; and then act as though it never happened.”
Allowing people to save face in this way, and not reminding them of what they
already know is not their most intelligent behavior, is an act of great kindness.
This is possible when we realize that people behave in such ways because they
are in a place of great suffering. People react to their own thoughts and
feelings and their behavior often has nothing directly to do with you.
7. Start being a bit
Be gentle and
compassionate with those around you. Mother Nature opens millions of flowers
every day without forcing the buds. Let this be a reminder not to be forceful
with those around you, but to simply give them enough light and love, and an
opportunity to grow naturally.
Ultimately, how far
you go in life depends on your willingness to be helpful to the young,
respectful to the aged, tender with the hurt, supportive of the striving, and
tolerant of those who are weaker or stronger than the majority. Because we wear
many hats throughout the course of our lives, and at some point in your life
you will realize you have been all of these people.
Now, it’s your turn…
The bottom line is
that it’s time to be less impressed by your own money, titles, degrees, and
looks. And it’s time to be more impressed by your own generosity, integrity,
humility, and kindness towards others.
Don’t you agree?
Please leave us a comment and share your thoughts.
What part of this post
resonated with you the most?
Though your body might be ready to return to sex after a
miscarriage, are you?
How soon can you have sex after experiencing a pregnancy loss?
It’s a common question among women of childbearing age, considering that up to
20 percent of pregnancies result in miscarriage and approximately 1 in 100 in stillbirth. There’s not a standard — or
straightforward — answer. Generally, physicians counsel patients to wait until
they feel ready. But readiness for a woman and her partner can depend on a
number of physical, and emotional, factors.
“From a medical
and practical perspective, the primary thing is to ensure that the pregnancy
has passed completely, the cervix has closed, and that there isn’t an increased
risk of causing infection in the uterus,” explained Zev Williams, M.D., Ph.D.,
chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility and an
associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Irving
Medical Center. “The timing for this depends on how far along the pregnancy was
at the time of the loss and how quickly the woman’s body recovers.”
romantic readiness is another question altogether.
roadblocks are a big factor: Women may feel reluctant to engage in sexual
intimacy while still grieving their loss. Miscarriage can also change a woman’s
relationship with her body, and what sex represents to a couple might shift. If
this seems hard to understand, it is: I am a psychologist specializing in women’s
reproductive and maternal mental health, and I didn’t fully comprehend how
complex returning to sex could be until I experienced a second trimester miscarriage
firsthand. Then I understood all too well: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
“There are no
guidelines with regard to telling patients what to expect about returning to
sex after miscarriage. Routinely, we don’t discuss sex after loss unless patients
bring it up,” said Jessica Schneider, M.D., an ob-gyn at Cedars Sinai Medical
Center in Los Angeles. “There’s research about how safe it is to get pregnant
again after a loss, but not about sexual function or satisfaction.” And the
fact is, sexual function and satisfaction can, and do, change.
I talked to
several women about their experiences around sex after pregnancy loss to find
out how they approached returning to intimacy. (The women preferred their last
names not be used due to privacy concerns.)
Some women, like
Ash, 36, felt ready to have sex right away. After experiencing a stillbirth,
she turned to sex for healing. “It was a way to feel powerful in my body,” she
said. “I felt like my body had failed me, and sex was a way to get that back.”
There was one caveat though: She didn’t want to risk another pregnancy. “It
felt better to engage in sexual acts that couldn’t result in one.”
Trying to get
pregnant again is a sensitive topic medically and emotionally. The World Health
Organization’s official stance is to wait six months before attempting another
pregnancy. Recent research, however, suggests that having
sex sooner doesn’t have a negative effect on future pregnancies and could actually help success rates.
“The doctor told
us to wait until we were comfortable,” said Maria, 26, who has had four
miscarriages. “It was nerve-wracking to return to sex. I think because I was
terrified of getting pregnant again and losing it or not getting pregnant
again. It was challenging mentally.”
self-blame can enter the bedroom after pregnancy loss and create trouble where
there previously was none. Hanan, 27, thought she was ready to have sex again
immediately after a stillbirth, though her doctor told her to wait six weeks.
She said she felt arousal and the desire to have sex, and engaged with her
husband in everything other than penetrative sex, while waiting for medical
clearance. But the first time they had intercourse, she wasn’t prepared for her
emotional reaction. “I cried so much after the first time. I felt very guilty,”
she said. “My body wanted to, but my brain didn’t. It felt selfish and immoral
— like I should have been celibate while grieving.”
are especially challenging for women who are actively trying to conceive again.
“I did not want to initiate sex after my loss, but at the same time, I did want
to get pregnant again,” said Maggie, 32. “My vagina became a constant reminder
of the loss.”
Some women said
they resented their bodies for a perceived failure. “After my miscarriage, I
couldn’t be with anyone for over a year,” Zachi, 27, told me. “The fact that my
body failed impacted the way I felt sexually afterward. I carried the baby
emotionally, long after physically.”
While a 2015
survey found that 47 percent of respondents who had experienced a miscarriage reported feeling guilty about it — and
nearly three-quarters thought their actions may have caused it — the reality is
that chromosomal abnormalities are the explanation in about 60 percent of
miscarriages. Pregnancy loss cannot be prevented.
If you’ve been
trying to conceive for a long time, sex following a pregnancy loss can become
especially fraught — even unappealing.
“After my first
miscarriage, we only had sex to conceive. It started to feel like a task,” said
Gina, 30, who has experienced infant loss and two miscarriages. “That mentality
compounded after my second miscarriage and killed all sexual desire for me.”
Sonali, 33, who
has lost four pregnancies, had difficulty returning to the very place she got
pregnant. “Sex with your other half in the bed where you conceived the babies
you lost is so triggering,” she said.
thinking about where I’d be in my pregnancy now; how I wouldn’t be able to have
sex in this position,” Maria said. “It makes me feel guilty to feel great, when
I should be seven months pregnant and uncomfortable.”
can have unintended positive impacts on a woman’s sexuality, too. Zachi said
that she is more assertive in her sex life because of her miscarriage. “I have
to listen to my body now,” she said. “It becomes painful not to. I am a lot
more sure in what I want.” A miscarriage ultimately brought Maggie and her
husband closer together, she said. “During the loss, I felt like I was on an
island,” she remembered. “The first time my husband and I had penetrative sex,
I cried from relief, because I felt so re-connected to him.”
enjoying sex again is really about one thing — personal readiness — which is
what I tell my patients. It’s O.K. to feel grief and sexual desire
simultaneously. “Moving on” is not a prerequisite for pleasure.
said, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.” – Revelation 3:19, NIV
Nine-year-old Al had disobeyed his father who, as a strict disciplinarian, sent
him with a note to a police station in London. When Al came in late after
curfew, his father met him at the door and handed him a note and said,
“Take it to the jailhouse.”
Al was terrified.
“The officer, a friend of his father, opens the note, reads it, and nods,.
‘Follow me.’ He leads the wide-eyed youngster to a jail cell, opens the door,
and tells him to enter. The officer clangs the door shut. ‘This is what we do
to naughty boys,’ he explains and walks away…. The jail sentence lasts only
five minutes. But those five minutes felt like five months. Al never forgot
that day. The sound of the clanging door, he often told people, stayed with him
the rest of his life.
“The fear of losing a father’s love exacts a high toll. Al spent the rest
of his life hearing the clanging door. That early taste of terror contributed
to his lifelong devotion to creating the same in others. For Al—Alfred
Hitchcock—made a career out of scaring people.” (From UpWords from
Max Lucado, www.maxlucado.com)
True, discipline is important, but it always needs to fit the crime. Some
children are impaired for life because of severe punishment as a child. Others
are left terrified if they were beaten severely or abused. It is imperative
that parents never discipline out of anger because that is punishment, not
discipline. Discipline always needs to be in love.
Those whom God loves, he disciplines in love—not punishes in anger. We need to
do the same with our children.
God, thank You that when You discipline me it is always out of Your love for me
and for my good. Help me to do the same when disciplining my children. May it
always be in love and never out of anger. Thank You for hearing and answering
my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus’ name, amen.”
If you feel like you’re completely stuck in life right now with nowhere to go, realize you are lying to yourself. You have imprisoned yourself in your own mind by telling self-defeating stories — stories about what your life should be like, what should or should not have happened, and so on and so forth. By doing this you’ve created a tiny space in your mind and you’ve begun to believe you are actually living in it.
But you are NOT. You are alive in a vast world with infinite destinations. Take a moment to remind yourself of this. Go outside. Look at the sky and the clouds. THIS is the space in which you really live. Breathe it in. Then look at your current situation again.
When someone younger than me (or someone who simply has far less life experience) asks me about how to overcome the pain and frustration associated with life’s unexpected setbacks, this is how I explain it to them (Please note that I’m not suggesting YOU are younger than me or have less life experience. This is just an example.):
Look at the circles above. The black circles represent our relative life experiences. Mine is larger because I am older than you and have experienced more in my lifetime. The smaller red circles represent a negative event that has taken place in our lives. Assume we both experienced the same exact event, whatever the nature. Notice that the negative event circles are the same size for each of us; but also notice what percentage of the area they occupy in each of the black circles. Your negative event seems much larger to you because it is a greater percentage of your total life experiences. I am not diminishing the importance of this event; I simply have a different perspective on it.
What you need to understand is that an overwhelmingly painful and frustrating event in your life right now will one day be part of your much larger past (and pool of experience) and not nearly as significant as it seems in this moment.
Hopefully knowing this changes your perspective and gives you a good reason to NOT give up. And truthfully, this is just one small example of how you can shift your thinking and renew your sense of hope. The bottom line is that you can make many small, internal adjustments starting today that will help you feel better, think more clearly, and grow beyond life’s painful setbacks when they happen.
I had a miscarriage in between my two girls. I went in for an
ultrasound at around seven weeks, and there was no heartbeat. My period is so
irregular that I had to wait two additional weeks to confirm that the pregnancy
was not progressing properly. My obstetrician couldn’t definitively date the
pregnancy because he couldn’t definitively date the ovulation, so I trudged to
multiple radiologists for multiple disappointing ultrasounds over 14 days.
I expected to feel sad during this painful two-week wait, and
after — and I absolutely did. A guttural sadness that would take months to
What I didn’t anticipate was that I would feel a lot of other
things, and that the emotional ground would continue to shift under my feet. I
felt relief when I was able to take a new job right around when I would have
been due to give birth; I knew I wouldn’t have been able to take it had I
carried that pregnancy to term. Then I felt guilty about feeling relieved. I
felt anger — spiky and random, popping up unexpectedly and without apparent
trigger. And most appalling to me was the envy I felt toward women who were
pregnant, successfully. An acquaintance of mine was due around when I would
have been, and I could not stand to be around her during her pregnancy. When
she tried to make plans, I made excuses.
a myriad of responses to loss, said Julia Bueno, a psychotherapist and the
author of “The Brink of Being: Talking About Miscarriage.” “There may
well not be any grief,” Bueno said, and the grief some women feel is
“exquisitely nuanced, powerful and profound.” If the miscarriage is in the
first trimester, it may also be hidden, Bueno said, because you don’t always
look pregnant to the outside world, and it’s not customary to reveal a
pregnancy until you’re past 12 weeks.
of pregnant women may also feel a range of emotions. As technology allows us to
know we’re pregnant just after a missed period, it allows partners to become
bonded to babies far earlier than they might have been in previous generations.
There’s a case study in Bueno’s book about a woman who miscarried twice, whose
husband was grieving deeply. “He bought the pregnancy test. He saw that test
emerge — he was drawn into it,” Bueno said. He was already forging a
relationship with the baby that he had to mourn, too.
five years after my loss, I don’t think about the miscarriage much anymore. I
was lucky to have a second child, which is what I desperately wanted, and that
helped me. But lots of families still feel complicated grief even after having
additional children. Bueno lost twin girls, Florence and Matilda, at 22 weeks,
and she had three miscarriages as well. She went on to have two boys, and for
her, “the nourishment and joy runs alongside the grief.” Bueno told me about an
oral history she had read from a woman with nine children. That woman had a
miscarriage, too, and though she was in her 80s at the time of the oral
history, she still felt the loss acutely despite her sizable brood.
you know someone who has experienced a loss, Bueno said, “err on the side of
compassionate curiosity.” This could mean saying you’re sorry for a loss, and
then asking something open-ended, like, “Tell me what it meant to you,” as it
allows for the many kinds of emotion someone might feel. Be prepared for any
response — a woman may not want to talk about it at all, or she may want to
talk about the gory viscera. I recall making extremely dark jokes about what
came out of me in the aftermath. Those physical side effects, “that stuff needs
to be talked about,” Bueno said. Otherwise we run the risk of women feeling
“icky and shameful and abnormal” about what they’ve experienced.
need to make cultural space for every single kind of reaction to loss — there
will always be a gamut of responses. And sharing these stories is a good place